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Academics: School of Arts & Sciences:
Religion and Philosophy

Department of Religion and Philosophy

At Chowan, we are looking for students, like you, who are interested in pursuing God's call on their lives, while devoting themselves to the academic study of religion.

The Department of Religion and Philosophy offers many advantages including:

  • Individual attention. Upper level religion classes tend to have fewer than fifteen students! This allows students, like you, to build strong relationships with the professors and benefit from individual attention.
  • Quality, highly trained, Christian faculty. All of our full-time professors hold an earned Ph.D. – the highest academic degree obtainable in the study of religion.
  • Innovative Academic Programs. Our program has an emphasis on the foundational disciplines of the academic study of religion, yet we have added room for you to choose classes that will help you prepare for your future.
  • Career Preparation. All of our instructors have been active in various forms of Christian ministry – from pastoral ministry, to youth work, to music ministry. We will work with you in putting together a concentration that fits your vision for your career.
  • Study Abroad Opportunities. Through our extensive travel and study abroad programs, students can have first-hand knowledge of the Holy Lands and the Path of Paul. Special scholarships are even available for these opportunities!
  • Affordability. Along with the university’s comprehensive scholarships program, we have made a commitment to providing financial assistance for students interested in pursuing ministry or an academic study of religion. Click here to download the Chowan Christian Service Association Scholarship online! You may also download the PDF here.
  • Missional engagement. Foundational studies in Christian missions and cross-cultural issues, as well as global mission projects provide the student with resources to engage her/his individual context on a multi-disciplinary level. Click here for more information on Chowan’s mission minor and here for information on its mission projects.

Department of Religion and Philosophy - Faculty

Ralph J. Brabban II

Ralph J Brabban II
E. Lee Oliver Fagan Professor of Bible
Chairman of the Department of Religion and Philosophy

2006 Excellence in Teaching Award!

"Chowan's a great place for me to teach. It is important to me to be somewhere that gives students a chance to succeed. I feel like I can really make a difference here."

Ralph J Brabban II came to work at Chowan University in 2000.


  • Ph.D. degree in Biblical Studies from Baylor University
  • Master of Theology in Old Testament from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Master of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Bachelor of Music degree from West Virginia University

Courses Taught, Chowan University:

  • Understanding the Bible: Texts and Contexts
  • History, Literature, and Religion of the Hebrew Bible (I)
  • History, Literature, and Religion of the Hebrew Bible (II)
  • History, Literature, and Religion of the New Testament (I)
  • History, Literature, and Religion of the New Testament (II)

  • Jesus of Nazareth: Jesus at the Movies
  • Jesus of Nazareth: Parable, Narrative, and Social Discourse
  • Hebrew Prophets and the Contemporary World
  • The Intertestamental Period
  • Social World of Early Christianity

  • Christian Documents
  • Apocalypticism
  • Introduction to Biblical Languages
  • Theology, Life Stories, and Religion
  • Spirituality and Ethics in the World Religions
  • Heroines, Harlots, Housewives, and Other Images of Women in the
    Biblical Tradition
  • Travel Study: Turkey and Greece
  • Travel Study: Israel and Egypt
  • Travel Study: Italy
  • Islam
  • Internship (Supervising Professor)
  • Religion Capstone Seminar

  • Introduction to Philosophy
  • Introduction to Ethics

  • The Ancient World
  • Freshman Seminar


Review of The Kings and Their Gods: The Pathology of Power by Daniel Berrigan in Journal of Church and State 2009; doi: 10.1093/jcs/csp013.

“Exegesis: Jeremiah 18:1-11” and “Exegesis: Jeremiah 8:18-9:1” in Lectionary Homiletics, September 2004.

“Alienation, Sex, and an Unsatisfactory Ending: Themes and Features in Stories Old and New” in Screening Scriptures, Trinity Press International, 2002.

Editor and lead articles for OPUS: A Journal for Interdisciplinary Studies, vols. 1 2.

"The Relationship of Mathematics to Other Fields of Study: An Interdisciplinary Look at Mathematics and Civilization," with Piotr Blass, Opus, vol. 1, 1990 91

"The Ark of the Covenant and the Bible: Holy Objects and the Divine" in SBC Today

"A Response to 'The Interrelatedness of Languages' by John Joseph Owens," Opus, vol. 2, 1991-92

"The Use of the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha in the Writings of the Apostolic Fathers."

"A Study of the Proper Noun SĂTĂN in the Old Testament."

Public and Guest Lectures:

“Philipp Melanchthon” (Murfreesboro Rotary Club 7/21/11)

“When is a Revolution not a Revolution? The Curious Case of I Kings 12:1-20” (Chowan University Interdisciplinary Symposium 4/19/11)

“When Is Easter?” (Murfreesboro Rotary Club 3/24/11)

“Halloween” (Murfreesboro Rotary Club 10/28/10)

“Some Thoughts on the Significance of the Land of Israel: The Influence of Location on Ideology” (Chowan University Interdisciplinary Symposium 4/19/10)

“Jamaica Medical Mission Trip” (Murfreesboro Rotary Club 1/21/10)

“Istanbul” (Murfreesboro Rotary Club 6/18/09)

“Athletic Imagery in Paul and the Pauline Tradition: A Possible Tie to the Pan-Hellenic Games” (Chowan University Interdisciplinary Symposium 4/20/09)

“Jamaica Medical Mission Trip” (Riverside Baptist Church 12/3/08)

“Chowan Study Abroad: Israel and Egypt” (Murfreesboro Rotary Club 7/17/08)

“Some Theological Underpinnings Opposing Environmentalism” (Chowan University Interdisciplinary Symposium 4/21/08)

“Intermediate Islam” (Ahoskie Rotary Club)

“Camels” (Murfreesboro Rotary Club)

“Romans” (JBS church workers preparation)

“Biblical Texts Used to Justify Race-Based Slavery in the American Old South” (Chowan University)

Interdisciplinary Symposium 4/23/07)

“Italy” (Buckhorn Baptist Men)

“The Holy Land” (Buckhorn Baptist Men)

“Decisive Wars; Decisive Battles” (Chowan University Interdisciplinary Symposium 4/24/06)

“Romans” (JBS preparation for NC Directors of Missions 7/9-11/07)

“Johannine Epistles” (JBS for Buckhorn Baptist Church)

“Johannine Epistles” (JBS church workers preparation)

“Nehemiah” (JBS for Buckhorn Baptist Church)

“Nehemiah” (JBS church workers preparation)

“Elephantine” (Murfreesboro Rotary Club)

“Types of Marxism: Never the Twain Shall Meet” (Chowan College Interdisciplinary Symposium 4/25/05)

“The Date of Jesus’ Birth” (Murfreesboro Rotary Club)

“The Olympics” (Murfreesboro Rotary Club)

“Marxism” (Murfreesboro Rotary Club)

“Mark” (JBS for Buckhorn Baptist Church)

“Mark” (JBS for five churches in Roanoke Rapids, NC)

“Mark” (JBS church workers preparation)

“1 Corinthians” (JBS church workers preparation)

“Dead Sea Scrolls” (Murfreesboro Rotary Club)

“Daoism” (Murfreesboro Rotary Club)

“Genesis 1-12” (JBS church workers preparation)

“Distinctive Issues in Baptist Higher Education” (NC Council on Christian Higher Education: Admissions and Financial Aid Directors)

“Islam” (Ahoskie Rotary Club)

“Islam” (Murfreesboro Methodist Men)

“The Baptist State Convention of NC and its Relationship to its Colleges and Universities” (NC Baptist Professors of Religion panel member)

"The Role of Women in the Ancient Near East"

"The Hebrew/Jewish Background Relevant to the Teachings of Paul"

"Malachi and the Concept of Covenantal Love"

"Creation Accounts in the Old Testament"

"Aristotelian and Neo Platonic Thought in Thomas Aquinas"

"Psalm 22 and the Cross: Individual Laments and Subsequent Use"

"Where Does Evil Come From?"

"Greek and Hebrew Music: the Background to Modern Western Music"

"Secular and Sacred Music in the Early Middle Ages"

"Interdisciplinary Studies in the Secondary School Curriculum"

"Prophets and Prophecy in Ancient Israel"

"Why is There Anti-Semitism?"

"Albert Einstein and his Theory of World Government: Some Underpinnings from his Jewish Background"


"Some Word Pictures in the Book of Amos"

"The Middle East: A Fragile Peace" (Harbour's Edge Lecture Series)

"The Changing Pace of British Life: Reflections on Recent Studies Abroad" (Harbour's Edge Lecture Series)

"World Religions and Inter-Cultural Communication"

“The Intertestamental Period” (5-week series at Lost Tree Village, 1997)

“’What Do You Call a Boomerang That Won’t Come Back?’ ‘To Get To the Other Side.’ The Reinvestment of the Book of Ruth and the Subsequent Effect on an Etymological Etiology” (Theta Alpha Sigma, 1997)

“The Apocrypha” (Lost Tree Village, February 3-March 3, 1997)

“Introduction to the Old Testament: Genesis” (Lost Tree Village, January 12-February 9, 1998)

“Apocalypticism” (Lost Tree Village, February 16-March 16, 1998)

“World Religions” (3-week series at Universalist-Unitarian Church lecture series, April 1999)

“Freedom of Religion in America” (Universalist-Unitarian Church, July 4, 1999)

“Walls and Bridges” (Keynote address for the Fellowship of Christians and Jews, November 19, 1999)

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Keith A. Reich

Keith A. Reich
Assistant Professor of Religion

“Chowan is the type of place that values students and really seeks to help them succeed. I love that I get the chance not only to teach the wonderful story of Christianity, but that I also have the time and the encouragement to help students find their own place in that story.”


  • Ph.D, Religion/New Testament, Baylor University
  • M.Div., Princeton Theological Seminary
  • B.A., History/Greek, Baylor University

Courses Taught:

  • Understanding the Bible
  • Introduction to the Christian Heritage
  • CT 102: The Parables of Jesus
  • Introduction to Ethics
  • Ethics Seminar
  • History, Literature, and Religion of the New Testament (I)
  • History, Literature, and Religion of the New Testament (II)
  • Jesus in His Historical Context
  • Paul the Apostle

Publications & Presentations:


Figuring Jesus: The Power of Rhetorical Figures of Speech in the Gospel of Luke.
Biblical Interpretation Series 107, Leiden: Brill, 2011.


"Figuring Jesus: The Characterization of Jesus Through Rhetorical Figures of Speech: The Sermon on the Plain, A Test Case,” SBL National Conference, November 24, 2008.

"The Humbling of the Implied Reader: A Literary Reading of Mark 16:8,” Southwest Commission on Religious Studies, March 16, 2008.

Book Reviews:

Review of Biblical Literature
, September 25, 2010

Book review of Corin Mihaila, The Paul-Apollos Relationship and Paul’s Stance toward Greco-Roman Rhetoric: An Exegetical and Socio-historical Study of 1 Corinthians 1-4, New York: T&T Clark, 2009.


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Paul R. Gilliam III (Trey)

Paul R. Gilliam III (Trey)
Assistant Professor of Religion

“I am thrilled to join the Chowan University religious studies department. I am looking forward to passing on my enthusiasm for religious studies and especially early church history to Chowan students both in the classroom and in the cafeteria!”


  • Ph.D., University of Edinburgh - Dissertation: "Ignatius of Antioch and the Arian Controversy"
  • M.A., University of North Carolina at Charlotte - Thesis: "The Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of John: Complementary Christological Compositions"
  • M.Div., Gardner-Webb University
  • B.A., Gardner-Webb University

Courses Taught:

  • Understanding the Bible: Texts and Contexts
  • Christianity in the Roman Empire
  • Studies in Early Church History
  • History of Christianity
  • Baptist Life and Thought
  • World Religions
  • Islam

National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion 2009 Dissertation Scholarship

Publications & Presentations:


"William Whiston: No Longer an Arian," The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, forthcoming.  

"William Whiston: Was He or Wasn't He?" Baptist History and Heritage 47, no. 3 (Fall 2012): 19-33. 

"The Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of John: Complementary Christological Compositions," Thinking About Religion 6, (2006).
(The online peer-reviewed journal of the North Carolina Religious Studies Association - Click here

Book Reviews:

Adam C. English, The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus: The True Life and Trials of Nicholas of Myra (Waco: Baylor University Press, 2012) in Perspectives in Religious Studies 40, no.4 (Winter 2013).

Darrell L. Brock, Acts, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007) in The Expository Times 120, no.4 (January 2009).

Francis J. Moloney, Mark: Storyteller, Interpreter, Evangelist (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 2004) in Review and Expositor 104, no. 2 (Spring 2007).


"The Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicitas: A Misogynistic Text?" Chowan University Faculty Interdisciplinary Symposium: Thinking Gender, April 21, 2014. 

"What on Earth is Religious Studies?" Chowan University Salon Lecture Series, April 12, 2013.  

“Bully Bishops, the New Testament, and Eusebius of Caesarea: A Gentle Corrective to Popular Culture," Chowan University Academic Forum, April 16, 2012.

"William Whiston and Ignatius of Antioch: Scholarly Recognition," North American Patristics Society Annual Meeting, May 23, 2009.

“Baptists and the Patristic Era: The Arian and Southern Baptist Controversies,” Scottish Baptist Theological Society, April 2, 2009.

"The Arian Controversy and the ‘Authentic’ Letters of Ignatius of Antioch," Scottish Universities Staff/Student Church History Conference, February 16, 2008.

"Translating Galatians 4:4 in Light of Paul’s Christology," North Carolina Religious Studies Association Annual Meeting, October 6, 2006.

"Nicaea’s Legacy, Johannine Christology, and Modern Scholarship: Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and Origen Speak," Society of Biblical Literature International Meeting, July 3, 2006.  

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Jill Azumah Awuni

Jill Azumah Awuni
Instructor in Religion
Director of International Students Affairs

2011 Alpha Chi Teacher of the YearAward

“I love teaching at this diverse campus. I enjoy challenging my students to explore contemporary ways to understanding and interpreting the Bible in their world. I love teaching at Chowan University because I am able to mentor students one-on-one and inspire them to do greater things than they ever dreamed of."


  • Masters of Business Administration in Business Law and Ethics from Gardner-Webb University
  • Masters of Divinity in Pastoral Care and Counseling/Studies from Gardner-Webb University
  • Bachelors of Theology in Missions from International Baptist Theological Seminary in Prague, Czech Republic.  

Courses Taught:

  • Understanding the Bible
  • Critical Thinking 101
  • Critical Thinking through the Song of Songs
  • Business Communications
  • Freshman Seminar


  • Alpha Chi Teacher of the Year Award, 2011
  • Club Advisor of the Year Award, 2011
  • Club Advisor of the Year Award, 2010
  • Club Advisor of the Year Award, 2009
  • Outstanding Service to Decker Resident Hall, Gardner-Webb University, 2003
  • Resident Director of the Year, Gardner-Webb University, 2003-2004
  • Bronze Bulldog Award, Gardner-Webb University, 2003-2004

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John Pond

John Samuel Pond, Jr.
Assistant Professor of Religion and Philosophy, Mission Studies


“A favorite French philosopher once stated that “We are all translators” and “Every translation is a transformation.” I love the mission and ministry of Chowan University that values its students as individual translators who are given the exciting opportunity to be transformed by its diverse and contemporary program and Christian framework. It is a privilege and delight to be a fellow pilgrim and translator in this shared adventure of higher learning and spiritual development."


  • Doctor of Ministry degree (D.Min.) , Campbell University
  • Master of Divinity (with Greek and Hebrew), Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC
  • Bachelors of Art - Religion and Philosophy, Campbell University,
    Buies Creek, NC

Courses Taught:

  • Religion 101, (2 Classes) (Adjunct Professor), Fall 2011
  • The Local Church in Ministry and Missions, Fall 2011, Adjunct Professor, Campbell University Divinity School, Master’s Level
  • Religion 101, Sections F, I, K, M, Fall 2012
  • Critical Thinking 101, Section B, Fall2012  


Sunday School Lessons Writer, Winter 2002- 2011 (Sept.-Nov.; Dec.-Feb.), Biblical Recorder

Sunday School Writer, Smyth & Helwys, “Teachings of Jesus,” Spring, 2005


Congregational Coach, Pursuing Vital Ministry, BSCNC, 2003-2009

Church Development Advisor/ Director of Theological Education, Rwanda, Burundi, and Kenya, Foreign Mission Board of SBC, Richmond, VA, 1986-1994

Team Leader for Mission Projects, to Quebec, Panama, Brazil, China, Pennsylvania, Virginia, & Mississippi. Lead in formation of Partnerships with two groups in Quebec, Canada, with my wife, Sharon, Baptists Women’s ministries in Jamaica and with Baptists in Parana & Santa Catarina, Brazil



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